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Which Photo Editing Software is Best for Beginners?

The first thing you learn at the beginning of your photography career is that Photoshop is not the only photo editor out there. Every photographer has a tool or a combination of different tools that they use on a regular basis to edit their photos to their liking.

And there are hundreds of decent photo editors in the market and it’s not an easy task to find the one (or maybe a few) that would help you bring your creative ideas into life.

Especially when you’re just starting in photography, you can easily get lost in numerous photo editing apps before you find what you need. This selection includes some of the most powerful photo editors that entry-level photographers can make use of.

Which Photo Editing Software is Best for Beginners

1. Skylum Luminar

Luminar is an innovative photo editing tool that has won the hearts of many beginner and professional photographers worldwide. It can be used as a stand-alone app or as a plug-in other popular photo editors.

Anyone who doesn’t have much editing skills can make use of this one. Luminar is an auto-enhancer that uses AI-based technology to help you make stunning photos in the fastest and easiest way. There are also other more traditional tools, too. There’s nothing that Luminar can’t fix with its numerous features and tools, which include:

  • AI Slider
  • AI Sky Enhancer
  • Basic color and tone adjustments
  • Details Enhancer
  • Eraser Tool
  • Over 70 unique filters
  • Layers & masks
  • Presets for DJI drone photos
  • Customizable interface

2. Adobe Lightroom

Photoshop is no doubt a hands-down winner in the world of creativity but its cumbersome interface and the abundance of complex features that take time to get the hang of can be too overwhelming for a beginner.

Good thing that Adobe has another great app designed solely for photo editing called Lightroom. Unlike other beginner-friendly photo enhancers, this one doesn’t limit your creativity.

With Adobe Lightroom, you get everything you need to make your shots look just like you want them to in an easy-to-use interface using hundreds of incredibly powerful features, including:

  • Creative adjustment tools
  • Customizable light and color sliders
  • Healing brush
  • Focus shift
  • Selective image edits and adjustments
  • Perspective correction
  • Presets and filters
  • Batch editing

3. Aurora HDR

Aurora HDR has become a go-to editing tool for HDR photographers who want to make their HDR photos flawless. It comes with over than 20 professional tools HDR photo manipulation including details enhancer, color toning, denoise, LUT mapping, but is absolutely suitable for amateurs, too.

Aurora HDR is also packed with dozens of awesome Looks created in collaboration with the world’s most renowned photographers. It can be used as a stand-alone app or plug-in for Apple Photos, Photoshop, and Lightroom, which is pretty convenient when you use different software for achieving the best results. Other features include:

  • HDR denoise
  • HDR Smart Structure
  • HDR Clarity
  • RAW support
  • Layers & Masking
  • Batch processing

 4. Adobe Photoshop

There’s no doubt that Adobe is a powerhouse in the creative community. They gave the world Photoshop, by far the most powerful and versatile image editing app used by millions of creatives around the world for photo editing, graphic design, web design, and more.

If you’re new to Photoshop, its limitless number of features and tools might be a bit confusing at first but it’s worth mastering if you want to take your photos to the next level. Some of its essential features include:

  • Multi-layer editing
  • Blending modes
  • Retouching tools
  • Tons of brushes and filters

And a few words about the recently-added features:

  • Camera shake reduction
  • Content-Aware Fill
  • Frame Tool
  • Texture slider
  • Adjustment Brush

4. Capture One

Capture One is the hands-down best RAW editor in the market. It gives you full control of all aspects that go together with RAW editing – preserving, recovering and optimizing all information from your RAW files.

The app supports all major camera brands including Nikon, Fujifilm, Canon, and many others. Its easy-to-use and fully-customizable interface allows you to achieve perfect results with ease. Capture One is a great choice for novices and professionals alike. It comes with a whole bunch of advanced features including:

  • Advanced color editing
  • Layers & repair layers
  • Luminosity & gradient masks
  • Intelligent adjustments copying
  • Styles & presets
  • Composition tools
  • Lens-based corrections
  • Tethered capture
  • Plug-ins support

5. On1 Photo RAW

On1 Photo RAW is an incredibly powerful photo editor that was designed to have all the tools photographers need in a single application. With On1 Photo RAW, you won’t have to switch between multiple apps to make your photos look perfect.

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It combines the most powerful features from Lightroom and Photoshop and brings tons of unique ones. Besides, you can browse, manage, organize, and catalog your photos right inside the app. Some of the features include: 

  • Non-destructive editing
  • Layers
  • Local edits & global adjustments
  • Retouching and photo restoration tools
  • Masking & blending tools
  • HDR merge
  • RAW processing
  • Panorama stitching
  • Hundreds of stackable, re-editable, and customizable filters, presets, and LUTs

6. Corel PaintShop Pro

Corel PaintShop Pro a great photo editing tool that allows you to upgrade your photos in the most effective and simple way. It comes with tons of cutting-edge tools and features while remaining very easy to use.

It’s an awesome tool that every beginner would find useful – Corel PaintShop Pro perfectly combines some very basic and more advanced tools allowing you to master the art of editing while making your photos look stunning. In this app you can create professional-looking photos with the help of these features:

  • Simplified workspace
  • Layers & masks
  • Remove and Retouch tools enhanced by SmartClone feature
  • Powerful Selection toolset
  • RAW, HDR & 360-degree photo editing
  • AI-enhanced effects
  • Multi-layer compositions
  • Plug-in support

7. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is a relatively new product in the photo editing software market that looks highly promising. Both entry-level and professional photographers will love this all-in-one editing tool that allows you to achieve fantastic results using dozens of advanced photo manipulation tools within a very easy-to-use interface.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate has pretty much all the features you can find in other editors: lighting and color adjustments, repair and transformation tools, effects, etc. However, it has some innovative features that make it stand out from their competitors: 

  • Edit source files directly from your drives without importing them
  • Face Detection & Facial Recognition
  • HEIF support
  • Deform & reform objects without compromising quality
  • Send photos from your smart device to ACDSee Photo Studio with ACDSee Mobile Sync

8. Gimp

Gimp is a popular image editing software beloved by many creatives for its versatility. Here you can not only retouch and enhance photos to your liking but also draw, and create logos, templates, posters, you name it.

Gimp offers you a plethora of best-in-class tools and features both for amateurs and professionals. In Gimp, everyone can find something to match their creative needs. Features include: 

  • Fully customizable interface
  • Layers & masks
  • Full alpha channel support
  • Perspective correction
  • Clone tool
  • Healing brush
  • Plug-in support 

And many, many more!

9. Canva

Canva is a graphic design website with a very simple and straightforward interface. It can come in handy when you need to make some basic photo corrections very quickly.

Here you can straighten and crop your photos, add text to them, adjust transparency, brightness, contrast, saturation, add a vignette, blur. Canva also allows you to create a variety of graphics using your photos, like posters, banners, postcards, magazine covers, menus, photo collages, and more.

You can also share your work with other Canva members and see other’s works, too. On top of that, Canva offers: 

  • Over 8,000 templates
  • Textures
  • Design grids and photo frames
  • Stickers, icons, and badges
  • Speech bubble maker

10. PicMonkey

PicMonkey is an online photo editing and design tool that you can use as a web or mobile app. It comes with a simple but powerful pack of tools that will help you apply your creativity to achieve brilliant results.

In PicMonkey, you can not only enhance your photos to look amazing but also add texts and graphics to them to create thumbnails, social media posts, cover templates, IGTV covers, and more. Other features include:

  • Touch up tools
  • Textures and frames
  • Customizable effects and filters
  • 6000+ graphics and icons
  • Hundreds of fonts and templates
  • Print directly from PicMonkey

11. Pixlr Editor

Pixlr Editor is an easy-to-use photo editing software that you can access directly from a browser or through a desktop or mobile app. It’s a go-to app for hobbyist and amateur photographers.

It doesn’t have many advanced features but is packed with all essential editing tools you need to make your photos look perfect in just a few minutes.

You can crop, resize, remove background, fix blemishes, remove unwanted objects from your photos without hassle, and more. Additionally, Pixlr Editor offers: 

  • Millions of free effects and filters
  • Drawing tools
  • Icons, overlays, borders, and shapes
  • Powerful retouch tools
  • Autosave

12. Snappa

Snappa is the perfect choice for those who want to transform their photos into graphics for ads, blogs, social media, emails, but lack graphic design skills. It’s a web-based image editor with tons of cool features that will help you unlock your creative potential.

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Here you can resize your photos to suit any formats, add texts and graphics to them, make them shine using tons of effects and filters, and more! Features include:

  • Lots of pre-made templates
  • Over one million photos for commercial use
  • Hundreds of fonts and graphics
  • Ability to import your own fonts
  • Share your work to social media

13. PortraitPro

If you specialize in portrait photography, you might find PortraitPro very helpful. It’s an advanced photo editing tool built with cutting edge technology to help photographers edit portraits to perfection.

With PortraitPro, retouching has never been easier. It comes with everything you need to fix skin blemishes, remove wrinkles, reshape any part of the face, enhance eyes and teeth, add makeup, and a host of other features, like:

  • Hair controls
  • Automatic face retouch
  • Advanced layers
  • Restore brush
  • Backgrounds, stickers, logos, and overlays
  • Smart Filter feature enables to easily switch between Photoshop and PortraitPro 

14. Fotor

Fotor is a popular photo editor available as a web and desktop application. One of the coolest things about it is that it’s cloud-based which means that your editing steps are saved in the cloud so you can come back to editing your photo later from where you left it.

The easy-to-use interface allows you to dive into the creative process without spending hours figuring out how the app works. The features offered by Fotor include:

  • Basic photo editing tools
  • Beautification toolset
  • Tons of stunning effects and filters
  • 1-tap photo enhancer 
  • HDR editing tools
  • Dozens of preset templates
  • Customizable fonts, icons, stickers, shapes, clip arts

15. Inkscape

Inkscape is an open-source image editing tool used by amateurs and professionals around the world to create all possible kinds of graphics. It’s available for download on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

If you often use your photos to create breathtaking graphics whether it’s a poster, banner, ad, postcard, thumbnail, or template, you might find Inkscape suitable for your needs. It comes with tons of features: 

  • Calligraphy & text tools
  • Transformation tools
  • Layers & masks
  • Spray tool
  • Basic geometric shapes
  • Image tracing
  • Copy-paste object cloning
  • Graphic tablet support

16. DxO Optics Pro 10

DxO PhotoLab was designed for both entry-level and designed photographers. It offers a wide selection of features and tools to help you accomplish a variety of photo editing tasks of different levels of complexity.

With DxO PhotoLab you can convert your RAW images into truly amazing JPGs, even from mediocre cameras and lenses. It comes with tons of high-end features that help you get the most out of your photo equipment including:

  • U Point local adjustment technology
  • Optical corrections and sharpness
  • Prime denoising technology
  • Customized profiles
  • Advanced .dcp color management
  • Manual and Auto mode

17. Serif Affinity Photo

Serif Affinity Photo offers speed, powerful, and precise photo editing solutions to photographers of all levels. Powered by cutting-edge technologies, this editor comes with a powerful toolset tailored to the demands of a professional workflow.

Getting used to its somewhat complex interface can take some time but it’s definitely worth it if you’re eager to unlock your creative potential. Serif Affinity Photo comes with a host of amazing features:

  • Tons of adjustments 
  • Powerful retouching tools
  • Selection tools
  • Live filter layers
  • RAW processing
  • Focus merge
  • Mask & clipping layers
  • Vector and text tools

18. Photolemur

Photolemur is a super straightforward editor. Powered by innovative AI technology, it enhances your photos in one click. It produces breathtaking results even with portraits by improving the overall look of skin, adding color to eyes, and whitening teeth.

It’s a great tool for beginners and everyone who hates spending too much time editing photos. Select all the photos you want to improve, and Photolemur will enhance them to perfection. It’s packed with the following features:

  • Sky enhancement
  • Color recovery
  • Face finish feature
  • Exposure compensation
  • Foliage Enhancement
  • RAW processing
  • Dozens of amazing filters

20. AirMagic

AirMagic is one of the first applications specifically designed for editing aerial photos. Anyone looking for a tool like that will love what they can accomplish in AirMagic.

Besides, you don’t have to possess any special skills to be able to enhance photos in this one as advanced technology does all the work. The app removes haze, enhances the sky, reveals hidden details, boosts colors, and more without any human involvement.

Additionally, AirMagic automatically detects the type of camera your photos were taken with and makes lens corrections and other adjustments for that particular camera. It also comes with:

  •  6 presets
  • Built-in styles
  • RAW, JPEG, TIFF, and PNG support
  • Batch processing
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Rick Bosley

Rick Bosley is an accomplished senior editor in the field of security and networking, bringing a wealth of knowledge to his role at Nice, Inc.. His expertise covers a wide range of topics, from HDR and editing software to device monitoring apps.